SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Fair Grounds Field was once the home of the Shreveport Swamp Dragons and Shreveport Captains.
But today it’s simply an eyesore of Interstate 20.
“It’s just a matter of casting a new vision,” said Shayne Sharkey of Play Ball Shreveport.
In a $186 million bond proposal, the city of Shreveport suggests demolishing the stadium, but Shayne Sharkey with Play Ball Shreveport wants to save it.
“We want to convert the stadium to where it can be used for baseball, softball, soccer, and lacrosse and be able to use it for all age groups,” said Sharkey.
Since 2011 these gates have remained locked. Since then, the stadium has continued to deteriorate, which is why city leaders want to tear it down and turn it into a parking lot.
”We have had investors come in and say, ‘I think I can make something work because this is such a great location right off I-20, but the cost to tear this facility down doesn’t pay out,'” said Director of Shreveport Parks and Recreation Director Shelly Ragle.
City leaders say it doesn’t meet building and sanitation codes and is not handicap-accessible. They also say it is undersized for the cities capacity and infested with bats.
”To build a new stadium of that capacity it would be about $9 million,” said SPAR Planning & Development manager Russell DeLancy, adding tearing it down will attract business.
”It’s an opportunity to ready that site for some other development,” Ragle said. “While the stadium had value in the past it still as a value in the future.”
The bond proposal that includes the money for demolishing the ballfield will appear on the November 16 ballot.
Fair Grounds Field was built in 1986 and was the home of the Shreveport Swamp Dragons and the Shreveport Captains.
Earlier this year, a group called Play Ball Shreveport went before the Shreveport City Council to offer its vision for saving the ballfield. The group posted on its Facebook page that they plan to attend Monday’s work session of the Shreveport City Council to talk about the city’s plans for Fair Grounds Field.
Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins’ is leading a series of community meetings about the bond proposal.
The community meetings will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the following park recreation centers and local church on the respective dates:
- Thursday, Aug. 29 – Broadmoor Presbyterian Church 1915 Grover Place
- Thursday, Sept. 5 – Mamie Hicks 200 Mayfair St.
- Thursday, Sept. 12 – Valencia 1800 Viking Dr.
- Thursday, Sept. 26 – Airport Park 6500 Kennedy Dr.
- Thursday, Oct. 10 – A.B. Palmer 547 E. 79th St.
- Thursday, Oct. 17 – Bilberry 1902 Alabama Ave.